Thursday, October 29, 2009

Take a Picture!

Recently I led a conference at LifeWay Kids Conference about technology as a tool for preschool and kindergarten teachers. (Specifically we looked at ways to use laptops/computers and digital cameras to help as we teach children about the Bible.) One point in that conference was TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES.

This year, I think I'm going to set a record on number of pictures taken in a given Sunday School year. Depending on what is happening, I take about 10-20 pictures each week. Why so many pictures?

1. I can make "permanent" some ideas or creations that are, by nature, impermanent. (Block structures get taken down; dramatic play experiences are forgotten; an unusual idea is overlooked.) A few weeks ago, a boy was painting at the easel. He decided to experiment with painting backward. He turned around and used the brushes over his shoulder, painting behind his back. I have a picture of that experimental idea.

2. I can preserve memories. At the end of the year last year, we used pictures from the year to make a book about Sunday School. Each child received a CD with a PDF of the book...and a few special pictures of himself in Sunday School. These become great memories for kids and parents. (And I get to look at those pictures and remember, too, since I have them on my computer or on a CD.)

3. I can capture important moments--ones that I think are important or ones that the children think are important. Last year, I saw a child (who normally plays alone and resists interaction from other kids) invite/allow another child to sit with him and look at a book together. I have a photo of that. This year, the boys build an elaborate building and call for me to take a photo. Or girls want me to photograph their paintings. I've used the camera so much this year, they are asking (or telling) me when something may deem a photo. A few weeks ago, the camera was left at home. I'll never forget the dejected sounds the boys made when I was unable to photograph their structure. (And I don't think I'll ever forget the camera again!)

4. I use cropped photos on our class blog. Parents can see the structures we built, the process we used to create art, or the active learning that happens throughout the room. I show only hands and bodies of kids, never faces. But you can see the fun things they are doing and being to see how we learn about the Bible in a myriad of ways.

5. Photos can be used to create matching games or puzzles. How fun to work a puzzle with your own picture on it!

I'm thinking about investing in a sturdy (but inexpensive) camera so kids can begin to take photos, too. I can only imagine what they would capture each week...and I'm excited about that idea.

How do you use cameras to enhance your teaching?

Try Something New
Saying Good-bye

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